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Autumns Eyes - Ending Life Slowly (2017) - Review

Band: Autumns Eyes
Album title: Ending Life Slowly
Release date: 31 October 2017
Label: Self-Released

01. Death Of October
02. Break The Skin
03. Your Last Day
04. Moments Into Memories
05. The Honest Liars
06. Couldn’t Hold On
07. Far Away From Fading
08. Internal Arson
09. Open Your Eyes, Not Your Wrists
10. Under The Skin Of The Sun

What a great surprise came out on last Halloween from New England (USA) based one-man band Autumns Eyes. Ending Life Slowly is absolutely one of the best if not the best gothic metal album released in 2017, and if there's still somebody who thinks that a good gothic metal is a thing of the past than he/she must give a listen to this magnificient album. Daniel Mitchell, the sole member of Autumns Eyes formed the band back in 1999 and has since then released two full length albums, Please Deceive Me (2012) and The Awakening Of The Sleeping King (2007), plus EP Surrender The Fire (2008), and a collection of instrumental songs named Broken Leaves And Haunted Streets (2013), originally written and recorded back during the bands inception in 1999. Autumns Eyes appeared also on a Type O Negative tribute compilation, All For None, None For All: A Tribute To Peter Steele, with a stunning cover of "Love You To Death".

Ending Life Slowly is Autumns Eyes best work to date, there's no doubt about that, it has more depth, more atmosphere, better structured compositions, more emotions, it's more dynamic and versatile, it has better vocal job than anything Daniel Mitchell did before, even though that everything Autumns Eyes released so far is a must listen for fans of dark metal and dark rock in general. Ending Life Slowly consists of ten pretty different songs between each other, but still the whole thing feels like an organic entity. Ending Life Slowly is a melancholic and gloomy album, pretty haunting and just enough suspenseful, heavy and very emotional to keep the listener focused on everything that if has to offer. Like the album title suggests, lyrical themes are about death and decay, about the immense weight death can hold over ones shoulders.

Like I said before, Autumns Eyes on this album offers pretty varied array of gothic infused styles. From typical gothic metal in the vein of Moonspell, Tiamat or Lucyfire, like is the haunting groovy opener "Death Of October", to gothic doom with a bit more emphasis on Type O Negative or My Dying Bride, for example in "Break The Skin", as well there's a pretty distinctive dose of gothic rock blended with dense and highly atmospheric gothic/doom in more emotive immersive tracks like is the mesmerizing "Your Last Day", "Couldn't Hold On" or "Far Away From Fading". But Autumns Eyes delivers also some more aggressive ones that sound just like if In Flames or Dark Tranquility were mixed with The Sisters Of Mercy, a fine example should be "Moments Into Memories", "The Honest Liars", or even more showing the versatility of this musical act are songs like "Internal Arson", "Open Your Eyes, Not Your Wrists" and especially the creepy gothic/doom metal named "Under The Skin Of The Sun", where Daniel Mitchell mixes everything together into one hell of a massive captivating soundscape.

Vocally this album is very strong, it ranges from deep gothic baritone, impressive harsh voice, to spoken words and other variations that are found throughout the songs. The ambiance is often very thick, gloomy, deeply wistful and it has kind of a horror feeling, while the instrumental side is so very rich and dense when most needed. Very captivating melodies perfectly converge with cutting guitar riffs and strong pounding rhythmic line, yet everything is often very harmonic, but always dark, yes, very dark and haunting because of perfectly used gloomy synths and occasional piano touches. The songs have kind of an ongoing pathos that nicely builds up in intensity. Even though that originality is not the strongest point of Autumns Eyes, this album is something that every fan of gothic metal should be craving for. Great production is another surplus here, it adds power, depth and kind of a sparkling mood, because of that Autumns Eyes absolutely doesn't sound like an one-man band. The only little thing that could be done better is pretty uninspired artwork, but that could be forgiven, because it's known that Daniel is quite obsessed with everything connected to Halloween and horror. Ending Life Slowly is a must for everyone who fancies gothic stuff, without exuses!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10